Here's a winning equation: unique, reasonably priced drinks (nothing over $10) + consistently delicious food that transcends typical bar fare (charcuterie plate, anyone?) + a welcoming, open-air space that always feels like a party = three years and counting for an Eastside restaurant that feels like home away from home. – Melanie Haupt
East Side Pies' thin-crust works of pizza art boast a plethora of fresh, local farm and ranch toppings. You can go full Kevin McCallister with a straight-up cheese pizza, or adventure into the land of spinach curry sauce, the Nacho with black bean sauce, or the pesto-sauced Half Nelson with jerk chicken. Simply put, some of the best pies in the city – and delivered right to your door, to boot. – Jessi Cape
For some, Eastside Cafe is perfect for Mother's Day brunch or a birthday dinner. For others, it's the appeal of garden-fresh vegetables in a wholesome weekday lunch. The addition of fast-casual Elaine's next door, which specializes in tasty pulled pork and scratch-made pies, ensures that this duo has all the bases covered. – Melanie Haupt
2113 Manor Rd.
Legendary lines for this smoked-meat sensation. Frill-less ordering: by the pound, plate, or sandwich, with simple sides and delicious pies by Cake & Spoon Bakery. Aaron Franklin's mouthwatering brisket has sold out every single day since opening in an East Austin parking lot in 2009. The real deal. – Gracie Salem
900 E. 11th
Local and seasonal are the names of Sonya Cote's game, and this popular East 11th Street extension of her mission pairs the antique quirkiness of a restored drugstore with legitimately farm-fresh dishes. Hillside Farmacy offers perennial favorites such as craft cocktails, soup du jour, bountiful sandwiches, a raw bar for oysters, and, of course, splendid chef specials. – Jessi Cape
1209 E. 11th
The recent winner of the inaugural Austin Chronicle Invitational BBQ Beef Rib Smackdown, Micklethwait's meats smoke out of a vintage refurbished trailer and romance the city with hand-crafted sausages, succulent pork loin, melt-in-your-mouth brisket, and sides that rival those of any barbecue dynasty. Both consistently creative specials and time-honored favorites abound, including homemade bread and desserts. – Jessi Cape
Named for an Old World fair featuring top-notch fresh ingredients, this bright and inviting new neighborhood spot features elegant Italian cuisine made affordable. A few highlights include house-made flavored liqueurs and happy hour, a lovely prix fixe brunch, traditional pasta galore, and an herb garden. – Jessi Cape
Bubbly pink cocktails, crispy duck-fat french fries topped with a sous-vide egg, tasty glazed turnips, and salmon rillette in a jar – this is either a dieter's nightmare or fantasy come true. Either way, Salty Sow provides a decadent-yet-chic counterpoint to the burgeoning Manor Road bar scene. – Melanie Haupt
1917 Manor Rd.
Chef Raymond Tatum, formerly of Jeffrey's, churns out gourmet trailer fare with a Southern soul-Asian fusion twist. Think maple-glazed pork belly sliders; bacon-wrapped, cracklin-studded pork meatloaf; and Asian fried chicken. Also, homemade pies. – Melanie Haupt
Pull up a chair and savor the moment with strangers. At Blue Dahlia, tables are arranged so that diners brush elbows while they enjoy a midmorning tartine or fill up on French classics like ratatouille. The idea is to create community around a baguette. After all, that’s what breaking bread is all about. Inducted in 2018.
1115 E. 11th
There once was a little house on Manor Road that served the best artichoke manicotti in all the land, but carrot pasta and sun-dried tomato cream sauce were only the beginning of the story. It’s a tale with plenty of romance (those sparkling limosas) and some very deep drama (the chocolate almond torte), perfect for all our happily-ever-afters. Inducted in 2017.
We’ve been loving those brisket burnt ends since Aaron Franklin’s trailer was located not far from the Chron offices near I-35, way back in 2009. The smoke signals at the now Eastside restaurant are nationally recognized – an Obama fist bump, a James Beard award, and even bad boy Bourdain’s unabashed obsession. Even the notorious hours-long lines can’t deter the steady cult following. But when it comes down to it, Franklin Barbecue has earned its crown because the food comes first, and it’s always delicious. Inducted in 2018.
900 E. 11th
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